Monday, April 26, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - week 8

 This is a bit of a crazy week, but I didn't want to leave those of you who are following this hanging.  As a result I am posting a link to a great description of the 10 virtues of a Proverbs 31 Woman.  I love that not only does this list show you in Proverbs 31 that each one of these is a virtue a woman should possess, but it also pulls scripture from other parts of the Bible as well.  I have actually printed this out and have it pasted on the inside of my journal as a reminder. 

So while I am not posting anything new, I am providing you some food for thought!


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 7

Thanks for venturing back after last week.  Looking back, that really was a hard one, for me especially.  I am definitely one  of those people who would prefer to help the needy at an arms length without getting dirty or close.  Last week I had to again address within myself how that wasn't truly helping them, it was just pacifying God.  It is like the parable of the offering where Jesus tells us that the woman who gave less money truly gave more to God because of her heart.  If I am just helping from a distance, am I truly doing it with a good heart or only doing it because I am supposed to?  For me, it is the supposed to thing more often than the heart thing.  But enough of last week, what is in store for us this week.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; 
she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
(verses 21-22)

Again a demonstration of preparedness.  The Proverbs Woman makes sure that her family will be clothed for the harsh, cold winter.  Not only are they clothed, but they are clothed in scarlet, a color of wealth.  She has made coverings for the beds, presumably from the yarn she has spun from the wool and flax she has gathered.  In addition, she is dressed nicely.  So let's break this down.

As the Proverbs Woman, we need to prepare for what we know is to come.  Does this mean worry about what is to come?  No, our Bible tells us that we should not worry, but trust in God.  However, we know that winter snow means cold weather.  We know that winter is going to come.  Since we know these things, we need to prepare for them. Winter is more than just a season, it is also symbolic for the hard times in our lives, the times we need to strap in and trust that God will see us through.  We need to be ready for these times in our lives to the best of our ability.  Once we have done that, we need to leave the rest to God.

Not only has the Proverbs Woman prepared the best clothing that she could for her family, she has also made coverings for the families beds.  She provides for her families needs through her own efforts.  Again this verse tells us that she took the time to make the coverings, just as she took the time to get the wool and flax, to spin it into yarn.  I picture her taking the time to dye it the favorite color of each member of her family, or when weaving or knitting or crocheting the coverings she works a pattern that the intended recipient would enjoy.  She does this not because she has to, she does have servants remember, but because it is a demonstration of her love for her family.  Does this mean that we need to all make coverings for the family beds?  I don't think so.  I think this is to remind us that whatever we are doing, we need to do it in love.  Follow through with it.  This woman could have picked out the wool and stopped there saying that she took the time to find the best for them.  She could have gone ahead and spun it into yarn and then stopped there saying that she took the time to do so for them.  But no, she finished the task herself.  This is a lesson we can apply to anything we do for our family.  How easy it would be to say, "Hey, I picked out the decor for your room, now you assemble it and put it together."  How much love is that really showing?  We need to follow through on what we do.

Finally, this woman still finds the time to put on her pretty clothes.  I don't know about you but I would be much happier in an old, stained T-shirt and pair of paint splattered sweatpants.  What I have discovered, though, is that my actions are a reflection of my dress.  When I wear the old, comfy clothes I want to be comfy.  I don't want to scrub the floors, or do a load of laundry.  But when I take the time to consider my clothes, I tend to take more time considering my actions, even if it is just jeans and T-shirt minus the stains.  I have found that when I pay attention to my appearance physically, I pay more attention to the details of my day, I am less likely to put off doing a task.  Don't know the psychology behind it, or if that is even a typical reaction, but it is what it is.  I do think it is important for us to pay attention to our appearance.  Even if it is just to be attractive to our husband.  I mean seriously, who wants to come home after a day of work to see their spouse sitting there looking all frumpy?  Is that really going to bring happy thoughts to his head?  It sure wouldn't mine!

So that is my two cents for the week.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 17 - Snowflake Saturday

This week is kind of interesting in that the pattern I have chosen is a knock off of another pattern (don't worry, the link to the original pattern is posted on her sight).  The smaller of my snowflakes is following the knock off pattern.  However, the knock off pattern is written in UK terms.  Basically this means for us U.S. crocheters that if you see "dc" work a sc.  It really isn't that difficult to convert, and she includes LOTS of pictures.  (Personally I find that many pics distracting, but for a beginner it is probably a really good thing to have pics of every stage to compare to)

When I finished it, I started thinking about what it would look like if I followed the pattern as written using U.S. stitches rather than UK stitches.  In other words, what if I work a dc where it says dc?  I had to make one simple adjustment in that the beginning ch of each round had to be adjusted to a ch 2 in round 1&2, for round 3 ONLY in the first chain loop did I make a change.  The first dc I worked a ch 2 and followed the instructions for the remaining round.  The snowflake worked out larger and airer.

Also, for both I used size 10 cotton and a size 6 (1.80 mm) steel hook.  So here is the link to Attic24's Crochet Snowflake.


Week 16 - Snowflake Saturday

Yet another pattern from Sally V. George.  This time baby A was sleeping soundly and I was able to work on this one in relative quiet.  As a result, this one seems to have gone much quicker and easier.  I am slowly but surely building a pile of snowflakes that need starched and blocked.  That is my least favorite part of this.  I use glue (I know that in some circle this is a huge no no since over many years the glue can begin to yellow and flake.  I have used starch in the past with good results, I just don't have any on hand) and as a result my fingers get all sticky and icky and yuck!  Then i have to pin all of them in place on the board.  I am such a perfectionist that this alone can take quite a bit of time.  I pin, unpin, shift, repin, unpin, shift, repin over and over until I get it just right.  Some I sprinkle ultra fine glitter on, others I leave plain.  It turns into an all day thing.

Yep, talked myself out of it.  May block some of them next week.  In the mean time, here is this weeks pattern, Snowflake #4


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Apple Catastrophe Averted!

So what do you do when the family sets the LARGE bowl of apples within easy reach of a 19 month old that loves apples?  Spend the day finding apples with 1 or 2 bites out of them hidden in the bowl, in toy drawers, and in the hands of said little one!

After you have collected all 6 of the concealed (and some not so concealed) apples what do you do with them?  In this case, I whipped up some whole wheat apple muffins.  I started with a recipe from called Apple Streusel Cinnamon Swirl Muffins and like most things I cooked, I tweaked it.  This is what I came up with:

Apple Streusel Cinnamon Swirl Muffins II
cinnamon sugar:
mix 1/4 cup white sugar with 1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 1/2 c grated peeled apple
2 tbsp cinnamon sugar mix (above)
1 1/4c whole wheat flour
1/4 c.  white sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray.  In a small bowl mix 2 Tbsp of the cinnamon sugar mixture with the grated apples.  Set aside.

In a large bowl sift the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix in eggs, oil and vanilla.  Stir in the apple mixture.  This makes a thick batter (think carrot cake batter).

Spoon about 1 Tbsp of batter into each of the 12 muffin tins.  Spread to cover the bottom of the tin.  Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture over each muffin.  Cover with remaining batter.  If desired you can sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per serving:
215.9 calories
10.3 g fat
       1 g sat. fat
        2.8 g poly fat
        5.8 g. mono fat
        (no idea where the remaining 0.7 grams are!!)
35.4 mg cholesterol
141.6 mg sodium

66.8 mg potassium
33.2 g carbs (2.6 g of which is fiber and the rest is sugar)
2.8 g protein


Monday, April 12, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 6

At times I wonder how this Proverbs 31 woman was able to accomplish all that she does.  At first glance, it sounds like a lot doesn't it?  But the more I review it, the more I realize it isn't so much the actions of this woman that make her so special, it is her heart.  She strives to provide for those she loves and cares for, she strives to bring honor to her family through her actions.  And our first verse this week shows that she also reaches out to others as well.  Verse 20 tells us that:
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 
Not only does she provide for her own family and responsibilities, but she reaches out to help others as well.  This one is pretty self explanatory.  Help those less fortunate than ourselves.  Sounds pretty easy, but do we do it?  I know I have often found myself exiting the highway only to see someone standing at the light at the end of the exit ramp with a cardboard sign and dressed in ragged clothes and I begin to pray.  Sounds pretty good doesn't it?  Except my prayer tends to be more along the lines of, "please turn green, please turn green.  Don't make me stop beside him."   Their poverty makes me uncomfortable.  Or I start to think that perhaps they are really just trying to get something for nothing, being lazy.  But this isn't the attitude we are supposed to have.

I had to finally realize that I need to change my prayer to something more along the lines of, "God, you have put me here, what is it you want me to do?"  Sometimes I don't feel led to do anything but drive on past, others I have given money, and others I have given gift cards (it's what I had on hand).  Rather than let my own flawed thoughts lead the way, I move over and let God take over.  It is easy to bring some food to the canned food drive at church, or to give when the Boy Scouts collect.  Have you really opened your arms and extended your hand to the needy?  Hard to do if you won't get face to face with them.  Take a day and volunteer at the local food pantry or soup kitchen.  Walk up to the homeless person and talk to him or her.  My husband and I were once eating breakfast at a local fast food restaurant, saw a man and both of us felt led to give him a gift certificate for food.  My husband purchased it, went outside and presented the man with it, and invited him to breakfast with us.  We discovered that the establishment would not allow him inside!  At what point did we (society) quit caring about people?  At what point did we as Christians decide that only those as good as ourselves deserve respect?  I attended a church at one point and was told by the preacher's wife that the church would only help people who requested it if they attended our church first!  I don't recall that being in my Bible anywhere.  Jesus called us to love each other and to help each other, regardless of our position.  Do you truly extend your hand to the needy, or do you simply put your offering on a stick and poke it at them?


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 15 - Snowflake Saturday

This weeks snowflake, and probably the next several weeks since I really like these patterns, comes from the files of Sally George.  Unfortunately the original website is no longer active, however the patterns have been archived.  This week we are doing Snowflake #2, which is a bit more difficult than many of the previous patterns.  I had to frog several times on the last round before I finally got it worked out.  However, don't let that discourage you, I was also working with baby A climbing in and out of my lap repeatedly, many interruptions for apples (Sesame Street was on and apples were prevalent in the episode.  Every time she saw an apple on the show she wanted a piece of apple all her own.), numerous ventures into the kitchen to see what baby A was exploring this time (she has also learned to use my husbands hard sided lunch box as a stepping stool), before she finally relented and succumbed to the sandman and I was free to work in peace.  So this may not be as difficult as it seemed to be at the time.  If you give it a try, please post what you think about the difficulty level!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 5

Honesty time.  This weeks verses had me stumped and required some research on my part.  I got the first verse of the week:

       She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.

This  is a woman that ensures that she doesn't get the short end of the stick.  This woman works hard for what she has, has earned the trust and respect of her husband and family, has demonstrated that she can make good financial decisions, and this verse tells us that she takes the time to ensure that her efforts are profitable.  Not only that, but she doesn't quit.  This woman gets up before anyone else in the house, ensures that everyone is fed and taken care of, works vigorously throughout the day, and then makes sure that the lamp doesn't go out at night.  To me that means that she makes sure that the home is taken care of, is made safe (the light deters burglars maybe), and perhaps the light does not go out because she tends to it.  This proverbs woman is busy with meeting and caring for the needs of others.

Verse 19 reads:

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
I had no idea what a distaff was.  The Miriam-Webster dictionary tells me that it is a staff used to hold wool or flax for spinning.  Ahha!  This makes sense since the next line talks about spinning.  Now, today most of us don't have to spin our own yarn to make clothing, blankets, or other items.  Some of us may choose to, and that is great, but I am not among that group.  I prefer to either venture to my local craft store to buy my yarn, or simply hit the department store to buy the finished product.  So what does this verse mean to us today?  It is pretty simple really.  This is a woman who isn't afraid to do what is necessary to provide for her family.  We already know she she collects the wool and flax herself, and now we see that she spins it into yarn herself also.  This is a woman of means if she is able to purchase her own land with her money, has servants to feed, yet she takes the time to hand select the wool and flax.  She takes the time to do the work of spinning herself instead of passing it off to a servant.  She stays busy.  She prepares with care.

I picture her in the market looking for the best wool and flax she can find, sifting through baskets, considering all that she touches.  If her family produces it's own wool/flax I can see her sorting what will be kept for her own family, and what will be sold for profit.  I can see her sitting by the fire as she spins it into yarn.  She doesn't have a spinning wheel, she must be careful to keep the thickness uniform, to ensure good quality yarn that will hold up to the stress her family will put on it.  She does so with care and love.  And that, I think, is the message for us today.

When we go about our days as wife and mother, take time to really put thought into the little details.  Do you think that this woman's family took the time to consider the time and care that went into making the yarn of their clothes or blankets?  Probably not as that was just something that was done.  Our families may not always recognize the time and care we put into preparing dinner, or cleaning the house, or washing the clothes or any of the many other duties we carry out in our role.  This woman didn't take the time to do these things to be recognized for her work, she took the time because she loved and cared for her family.  We need to put the same attention to detail to work in all that we do as well.  Spinning yarn was not a glamorous duty.  It was repetitive, time consuming, and required attention and precision.  She still took the time to do it herself, and I believe with care.  We should do the same.

Food for thought, see you next week!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week 14 - Snowflake Saturday

This weeks snowflake is one I stumbled across on accident.  As with most things, I made a few changes,
First of all, the pattern doesn't give you a beginning chain, I followed the suggestion of one of the commenters and used a chain of 16 and slip stitched to for a ring.  I used size 30 thread.  It wasn't on purpose but the size 10 was buried at the bottom of the yarn basket so i grabbed what was on top.  My final adjustment was on round 4 where it says " ch 3, in next ch-7 lp work sc, ch 3, sc, ch 5, sc, ch 3, and sc; ch 3**"  I replaced that with:
ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in first chain of the ch 7, ch 3, skip next chain, sc in 3rd chain of the ch 7, ch 5, sc in 5th ch of the ch 7, ch 3, sc in 7th chain of the ch 7, ch 3**

It gives you the same look but prevents the stitches from shifting on the ch 7 and keeps them evenly spaced.  For me it makes it easier to block this way.  Hope you enjoy it!  Here is the original pattern from Better Homes and Gardens, it is simply called a Crocheted Snowflake Ornament.    Hope you enjoy it!

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